What is Dynamic DNS and How does It Work?

What Is Dynamic DNS?

DDNS is an acronym for Dynamic Domain Name System. It is commonly known as dynamic DNS or DDNS. the Dynamic DNS provides an internet service, whereby domain names are allocated to IP addresses. This gives you the ability to access a computer at home from any place across the globe. 

An IP address is a set of numbers that identifies your device (computer, laptop, smartphone, or printers) to other devices. Your device may be part of a network and have a Private IP Address, which is only visible to other devices in the Network.

Alternatively, the device may have a public IP address that identifies your computer to the internet. You can think of an IP address as a phone number for your device. 

The easiest way to think of it is like the telephone book on your cellphone. Every number is linked to someone’s name. You can even add someone’s email address or alternative number to the same contact. The contact’s name is the domain name and the different contact numbers are the IP addresses. which may change with time. 

Most people have tons of contacts on their phones. Remembering 10-digit phone numbers is not too difficult if you use them frequently. You probably know your parents or spouse’s number off the top of your head. But can you remember your college buddy’s number? 

At the same time, how would you remember your mother’s number if she decided to change it every day? This would be a time-consuming learning process and a waste of time. A DDNS service solves this problem by simply saying Mom and then doing automatic updates every time the number changes. 

Your mother will at least let you know that her number has changed; your Internet device, on the other hand, will not tell you that it has just changed your IP address because you changed locations. 

The DDNS server, however, can pick up these IP address changes. It then updates it according to your hostname. In a sense, the DDNS server becomes the person that changes the name in your phonebook.

DDNS provides website hosts with the opportunity to portray a public name to potential site users. This is also the case for FTP servers. 

The Difference Between DNS & DDNS

DNS (Domain Name System) is only applicable to static IP addresses; the IP address will always stay the same. A DDNS, however, allows for IP addresses that may change, for example, those given by DHCP servers. This change is inferred by the word dynamic.

A dynamic DNS is perfect for home or small business networks since the devices on these networks are often changed. Each device has its own Private IP Address, but the devices share a DDNS with a public IP address, received from an internet service provider. 

A DDNS service is not required for static IP addresses. The static IP address never changes, negating the need for a domain name to constantly be updated with IP addresses. 

How Does Dynamic DNS Work?

Intern Connection through Laptop to surf the Web

The first step in using DDNS is to register with a provider. This can often be done with your current Internet Service Provider. You will receive the dynamic DNS software from the provider, which must be installed on the original host computer. This computer then becomes the server for the DDNS.  

For example, a computer equipped with FTP software can act as an FTP server. You will need to install the DDNS software on this computer. This computer will constantly send a message to the DDNS provider with an update of new IP addresses. 

The DNS servers take very long to run updates and visitors can be lost in the process. The dynamic nature of DDNS makes updates faster and allows for work to be accessed more easily. 

The DDNS software will check for any IP address changes and communicate with the provider. The DDNS provider then updates the changed IP address to the user’s account. In this way, visitors to your site will continuously be directed to it, using your account name. They will always be able to find you, even if the IP address has changed countless times. 

Uses For A Dynamic DNS Service

There are many reasons that people may opt to use a DDNS service. People who often change equipment and devices can benefit from a DDNS. You may want to access files on a home computer even if you are away from home; a DDNS server makes it possible to do this. 

People who work remotely may also prefer to use this service and keep all their information secure on one server. The website that you run from your home may have to change IP addresses. A DDNS will make it easier for you to manage the website. 

Getting DDNS

The DDNS service is made available by internet service providers and other software providers. There are free and paid DDNS providers to choose from. Most other DDNS providers have software that works with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems. 

Some of the popular DDNS providers are NoIP, Dynu, and FreeDNS. These offer free DDNS options. Google Domains and Dyn have paid DDNS options available to users. 

You will not have entire freedom when it comes to your DDNS service. All the URLs are not available for use on your server. You will have to select a hostname and will then choose a domain. The domain options will be given to you from a limited list of options. 

For example, you may go for the DDNS service provided by NoIP. Choose your hosting name or select one of their random options. Let’s say you choose to make your hostname myworld. You must then select a free domain from the options provided, which include zapto.org and hopto.org, among others. The URL for your DDNS will then be myworld.zapto.org

Now that you know all about dynamic DNS and how it works, you can search for a provider that meets your needs!

Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design. He also manages his own Art Portfolio on Instagram: @escreativesph

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